Syrian state TV reported the toll and showed footage of the blast scene in Damascus, including several damaged vehicles and a burnt-out car. The police officers' club was next to a vegetable market.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that tracks the civil war, said the blast killed eight policemen and wounded 20.

The IS group claimed the bombing in a statement circulated by its followers on Twitter, saying it was carried out by a fighter known as Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Shami. It vowed more attacks.

The blast came a day after an international rights group said Syrian government forces and the Russian military have been carrying out daily cluster bomb attacks over the past two weeks in Syria, killing 37 people.

Last week, Syrian troops and their allies were able to lift a three-year siege imposed on the Shiite villages of Nubul and Zahra in Aleppo province.

HRW said some of the recent attacks using cluster munitions occurred near the two villages.

Opposition activists have said that Russia has been using cluster bombs since the start of its aerial campaign in Syria on September 30.

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